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  • Proper aluminium cleaning

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ID:	605551 I am new to tig. I have a 48 foot semi all aluminium flatbed trailer I am working on. I have the trailer on its side and have cut out the cracks. Time to fill it back in then plate over. Per the manufacturer filling with 4043 then 5056 (I think) plate over it. Main portion or the frame is 3/8 inch and flange is over 1 inch. Plate is 3/8. My Diversion 165 was to small so I picked up a perfect condition Syncrowave 300 from 1976. I'm waiting on the wp18 torch to come in. My main question is what acid or cleaner do I use between the plate and frame to make sure there is no corrosion? Thanks in advance. Click image for larger version

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  • #2
    I would just clean it up with a die grinder/carbide bit or an angle grinder where you can access. Pre-heat and start welding, any impurities will float to the surface. Then grind them out as needed and weld again. As far as plating over just make it is nice and clean and full weld so no crap can get in between. You may need to drill a small hole in the plate to let pressure escape when you weld it on. Then when cooled you just weld up the hole. Just my 2 cents.

    I assume you will be welding the cracks from both sides? If not be aware that you can easily bridge the gaps with little penetration if you are not careful.
    MM250
    Trailblazer 250g
    22a feeder
    Lincoln ac/dc 225
    Victor O/A
    MM200 black face
    Whitney 30 ton hydraulic punch
    Lown 1/8x 36" power roller
    Arco roto-phase model M
    Vectrax 7x12 band saw
    Miller spectrum 875
    30a spoolgun w/wc-24
    Syncrowave 250
    RCCS-14

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    • #3
      Heck of a job to start out tig welding on.

      Comment


      • #4
        Plenty of good acid based aluminum chemical cleaners on the market to prep before welding....

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        • #5
          Mmw, didn't think about relief holes then filling in after. Will do.
          Ryan it is. The shops around me wanted $8000 to fix it right. The pictures with the old weld is how most around me want to fix it.
          I figured with buying both machines, plasma cutter and 4x10 sheet of 3/8 I'm out close to $4000. But will some great machines, good practice, and know it's done right. I've loaded 50k lbs on it before so I dont want a failure.

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          • #6
            Looks like a job where a spool gun would be indicated. I love tig welding, but if you have that much heavy aluminum work, a spool gun will be your best friend.

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            • #7
              I thought this is a spool gun job too but figured you will use what you got. Tig will work it will just be slower. If you run into issues and are in a time crunch maybe just hire someone with a spool gun to do the welding. All the prep work is done so it would not be to much money.

              Be careful what chemical cleaners you use. Fumes from some stuff can be very toxic when welded over. I have had issues in the past getting good welds on aluminum tankers that have been acid washed a lot. Aluminum is pourus and will soak up stuff only to be released when welded. That is why I only reccommend mechanical cleaning. A final wipe down with lacquer thinner would not hurt though.
              Last edited by MMW; 12-22-2019, 05:27 AM.
              MM250
              Trailblazer 250g
              22a feeder
              Lincoln ac/dc 225
              Victor O/A
              MM200 black face
              Whitney 30 ton hydraulic punch
              Lown 1/8x 36" power roller
              Arco roto-phase model M
              Vectrax 7x12 band saw
              Miller spectrum 875
              30a spoolgun w/wc-24
              Syncrowave 250
              RCCS-14

              Comment


              • #8
                Nice welder. I can't help much as i am a spoolgun guy...Bob
                Bob Wright

                Spool Gun conversion. How To Do It. Below.
                http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...php?albumid=48

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                • #9
                  I spent 6 1/2 hours behind a 30a yesterday. It would make short work of your repair. Maybe look around and see see if you can find a machine to borrow or rent.

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                  • #10
                    I'm not going to use a spool gun. I had bought the 2 tig machines for this job. I did rent a machine 200 miles each way to get it and it wasn't high frequency. Didn't know. Fount machines to rent but with deposit I could buy a machine. So I did.the syncrowave 300. Had the bottle, cart, cooler, torch, some cord for $1050
                    this is a semi truck trailer. I have to have good penetration, tig is the best for that. These cracks are over each of the spring hangers. 4 corners. The small half moon is done already. This thing will be rolling down the road at 80,000 lbs. Can't have a failure. The welding part is fine.
                    I just wanted to know what I should use to clean where the large plate and frame will be touching. I dont want any corrosion to start because I didn't clean it good enough.

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                    • #11
                      I hear ya. Anytime you put an aluminum plate on top of another one you’re running that risk. Aluminum is crack sensitive. When you weld it, your HAZ is annealed and you’ve lost your heat treatment in that area. I’m not a truck expert, but you probably need to consider reinforcing the areas above the springs like you’re talking about, unless that’s what you’ve already described when you mentioned zipping up the cracks then plating over them. It’s good you got a water cooled torch, trying to do this with an air cooled would be very slow. If your machine is capable of lowering the frequency, like around 50Hz, that will help in puddling and penetration on heavy aluminum. Floating in some helium would help too.

                      On a slightly different topic concerning your repair, be conscious of your weld termination. Aluminum likes to suck back in and you’ll end up with a crater eye. Look closely at those crater eyes and you’ll see cracks. Those cracks can certainly ruin your hard work when they run the length of that weld, and those crack will do that. Taper off slow and add a couple extra dabs as you do it.

                      This is going to take you longer, but it sounds like you have a plan of attack and I wish you good fortune in your repairs. I hope we were able to help you some.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Redbone15367 View Post
                        [My main question is what acid or cleaner do I use between the plate and frame to make sure there is no corrosion?
                        Thats not an issue its not like theres some kind of cancer thats going to keep spreading if you dont get rid of it. Its far more important to get your weld area clean. Phosophoric acid will work well to clean / etch the aluminum if you want to go that route. Personally I would clean the area with something like simple green and then acetone. Then with a stainless wire brush scrub the crap out of it 1" either side of your plate. One more wipe with acetone. Clean the area around where your going to fill the crack like this as well. That crack is going to need a lot more prep work then that aswell. A double vee prep is what I would do. A carbide bit on a pencil grinder would work best. Weld the one side. Then back grind to sound metal on the other side before filling that side.

                        What will cause corrosion is if your weld around the plate is not water tight. If water gets in there it will be trapped and it will start to corode. Its called crevice corrosion.

                        Honestly thats like probably 4 hours work (per side ifs its both rails of the trailer) if you have the right equipment and know what your doing. 8 grand f*ck me sideways I need to start charging more money!

                        Oh and dont use 4043 use 5356 its much stronger. Good luck, I think your gonna need it!
                        www.silvercreekwelding.com

                        Miller Trailblazer 325 efi
                        Miller extreme 12vs
                        Thermal arc 186 ac/dc
                        Lincoln power wave 455m/stt with 10m dual feeder

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                        • #13
                          [QUOTE=ryanjones2150;n605570]I hear ya. Anytime you put an aluminum plate on top of another one you’re running that risk. Aluminum is crack sensitive. When you weld it, your HAZ is annealed and you’ve lost your heat treatment in that area. I’m not a truck expert, but you probably need to consider reinforcing the areas above the springs like you’re talking about, unless that’s what you’ve already described when you mentioned zipping up the cracks then plating over them. It’s good you got a water cooled torch, trying to do this with an air cooled would be very slow. If your machine is capable of lowering the frequency, like around 50Hz, that will help in puddling and penetration on heavy aluminum. Floating in some helium would help too.

                          On a slightly different topic concerning your repair, be conscious of your weld termination. Aluminum likes to suck back in and you’ll end up with a crater eye. Look closely at those crater eyes and you’ll see cracks. Those cracks can certainly ruin your hard work when they run the length of that weld, and those crack will do that. Taper off slow and add a couple extra dabs as you do it.

                          This is going to take you longer, but it sounds like you have a plan of attack and I wish you good fortune in your repairs. I hope we were able to help you some.[QUOTE]

                          Excellent point about the crater cracks.
                          www.silvercreekwelding.com

                          Miller Trailblazer 325 efi
                          Miller extreme 12vs
                          Thermal arc 186 ac/dc
                          Lincoln power wave 455m/stt with 10m dual feeder

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Willvis, the 4043 is what the manufacturer said, same with the plate. They also told me the reason for the cracks to begin with is the hanger (steel) has a rubber barrier. Barrier is gone so oxidation at that point changes it and makes it prone to crack. The people I bought it from abused the crap out of it. To many beams on the back side to plate the back, but they assured me the 3/8 would work and is how they do it. There is 1 plate in 1 corner already done buy had to be a pro shop.
                            Thank you for the advice on the cleaning, was planning it already just didn't know if where the rest would be needed it or not. Acetone would be easy along with the other advice.
                            Aluminum is a whole new can of worms.
                            Thank everyone for the advise. I'm kinda the guy that says I think I can do that then learn all I can to do it.
                            I'm not to worried about the time on fixing it, have to wait till I'm in with good weather to work on it. I have to preheat and wont try till at least 60degrees before doing it. I may see if I can get helium gas mix since the one bottle I got with the syncrowave is about empty. I'm actually having fun with this job, just want it to be safe when done.

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                            • #15
                              If you’re just learning to tig weld, you might want to get some pure argon to practice with, helium is expensive. It’s also not as smooth and clean of an arc. Practicing on aluminum will make you a better all around weldor. Things that go wrong on welding steel go really wrong when you’re welding aluminum. Even so, I much prefer welding aluminum than anything else.

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